Dynamic optimization of energy systems with thermal energy storage
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Thermal energy storage (TES), the storage of heat or cooling, is a cost-effective energy storage technology that can greatly enhance the performance of the energy systems with which it interacts. TES acts as a buffer between transient supply and demand of energy. In solar thermal systems, TES enables the power output of the plant to be effectively regulated, despite fluctuating solar irradiance. In district energy systems, TES can be used to shift loads, allowing the system to avoid or take advantage of peak energy prices. The benefit of TES, however, can be significantly enhanced by dynamically optimizing the complete energy system. The ability of TES to shift loads gives the system newfound degrees of freedom which can be exploited to yield optimal performance. In the hybrid solar thermal/fossil fuel system explored in this work, the use of TES enables the system to extract nearly 50% more solar energy when the system is optimized. This requires relaxing some constraints, such as fixed temperature and power control, and dynamically optimizing the over a one-day time horizon. In a district cooling system, TES can help equipment to run more efficiently, by shifting cooling loads, not only between chillers, but temporally, allowing the system to take advantage of the most efficient times for running this equipment. This work also highlights the use of TES in a district energy system, where heat, cooling and electrical power are generated from central locations. Shifting the cooling load frees up electrical generation capacity, which is used to sell power to the grid at peak prices. The combination of optimization, TES, and participation in the electricity market yields a 16% cost savings. The problems encountered in this work require modeling a diverse range of systems including the TES, the solar power plant, boilers, gas and steam turbines, heat recovery equipment, chillers, and pumps. These problems also require novel solution methods that are efficient and effective at obtaining workable solutions. A simultaneous solution method is used for optimizing the solar power plant, while a static/dynamic decoupling method is used for the district energy system.
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